Sunday, November 6, 2011

Watch the Skies!

A beautiful display of clouds above Mount Erebus this evening ...

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Walk Around Camp: Power

We need electricity in camp. Microscopes, centrifuges, fume hoods, lights, cameras, radios, computers, microwave oven, and the infamous coffee (dribble)maker use it. How do we make electricity here? Three sources: (1) solar, (2) wind, (3) diesel. Back in the 80's we only had a diesel generator, and we burned about 10 barrels of fuel each season. With improvements in alternative energy technology, we're down to burning 2 barrels. We do more science than ever before, yet have reduced our carbon footprint dramatically.

Solar Panel

Wind generator

The power system at camp centers around a box full of batteries. The electrical input (solar when it's sunny, wind when it's windy, diesel when it's neither) is stored in these batteries, and a computer system ensures that the proper current is delivered.

It all takes a lot of legwork, though ...